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Full text of "An appeal to the public on behalf of Cameria [America], a young lady"










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AN 

APPEAL to the PUBLIC 



ON BEHALF OF 



CAMBRIA. 



'? 



AN 

APPEAL to the PUBLIC 

ON BEHALF OF 

CAMERIA, 

A YOUNG LADY, 

WHO WAS ALMOST RUINED 

BY THE BARBAROUS 

TREATMENT OF 
HER OWN MOTHER, 



LONDON: 
Printed in the Year 1781. 




REPRINTED. 

CINCINNATI, OHIO: 

ROBERT CLARKE & CO, 

1868. 



EDITION. 

1 25 copies small paper, ------ No. 

25 copies for Libraries and Editors, - - No. 

25 copies large paper, - - - - - - No. 









a & 



OHIO VALLEY PRESS, 

BOBEBT CLABKE & CO. 

CINCINNATI, O. 



P ^ ^ 






The following piece appeared in the 
Edinburgh Evening Pojl of the \th 
of March ; as it bears a lively re- 
femblance to the manner of the late 
admirable Dean Swift, and contains 
fome Jlr iking allegorical paffages^ it 
is hoped that it will afford the Reader 
fome rational entertainment. 



AN 



APPEAL to the PUBLIC 



ON BEHALF OF 



CAMERIA, 



To the Public. 

T~) ELYJNG upon that regard for juftice and 
■^^compaffion for the diftrefTed, which are 
characterise of Englishmen ; I am encouraged 
to publifh an account of my fufferings, in hopes 
that the public may conceive a better opinion of 
me, after being truly informed of my cafe. I 
am but a young woman, yet I have experienced 
fuch a train of perfecution and calumny as few 
have endured in the courfe of a very long life ; 

and 



io An Appeal to the Public 

and fo violent are the prejudices that have 
been raifed againft me, that I can fcarcely 
expect a fair hearing. I have been called 
whore, b — h, jade, monfter of ingratitude, and 
in fhort the moll opprobrious names in the 
world, by thofe whom I never injured, and 
even by many whom I have raifed from beg- 
gery to opulence. If it were in my power 
to ftate my cafe to you, without mentioning 
the author of my wrongs, the ties of blood 
and a regard to decency would incline me 
to do fo. But, alas ! my ftory is no fecret, 
and all the world knows, or at leaft may 
know, that the perfon who has long perfe- 
cuted me and fought my utter ruin, is my own 

MOTHER. 

I need not mention to you the calumnies 
fhe has raifed againft me ; or take notice that 
me has fhewn herfelf equally an enemy to my 
perfon, my character, and my pofferTions. If 
I had behaved undutifully or ungratefully, what 

I 



On behalf of Cameria. 1 1 

I have fuffered might have been confidered as 
juft punifhments, or at leaf!, as the effects 
of parental refentment provoked by real of- 
fences ; but you will be furprifed, when I 
affure you, that my prefent misfortunes arife 
folely from the deplorable Hate of my moth- 
er's intelle5ls y and the fuggeflions of thofe 
worthlefs people to whom me has intrufled 
the management of her affairs. 

My mother, to do her juftice, was once what 
is called a notable woman, and by her fkill in 
houfewifery and attention to the interefts of her 
family, had acquired a tolerably good reputa- 
tion. But being naturally very proud, and 
prone to quarrel on the {lighten 1 occafions, it 
was no eafy matter to live with her, as me was 
perpetually fcolding at fomebody or other. 
Though me pretended to great wifdom, me had 
but weak intellects and was conftantly under the 
dominion of fome worthlefs favourite. She has 
been feveral times in danger of loling all that 

me 



12 An Appeal to the Public 

fhe had in the world by this foolifh humour, but 
there is no curing of her. When I left the fam- 
ily, her favourite was an old Chaplain^ who by his 
meannefs and fulfome flattery got fo great an 
afcendant over her, that he became a perfect 
tyrant in the family ; but it was in vain to com- 
plain of him, as fhe authorifed all his oppref- 
fions, and confidered him as little lefs than 
infallible. He would often caufe the children and 
fervants to be whipped, and confined in a dark 
room, on pretence that we had made wry faces 
at prayers, or been indiftincl: in our refponfes. 
He made us kneel, wheel, ftand, or fit at his 
pleafure, like a file of mufketeers, and affirmed 
that much of our devotion confifted in thefe 
apifh tricks. At the fame time he obliged us to 
play at football on Sundays, and when any dared 
to objecl: to it, as an unfuitable appendage to the 
fervice of the day, he would hear no remon- 
ftrances, but made a fhanding order in the family 
that every body mould be turned out of doors, 
who would not do jufh as he would have him. 

Being 



On behalf of Cameria. 13 

Being a girl of spirit, and unable to digeft 
thefe daily affronts, and at the fame time obferv- 
ing that the ftubbornnefs of my mother's temper 
afforded me no profpect. of redrefs, I at laft re- 
folved to leave the family and try my fortune 
elfewhere. For this purpofe I affociated myfelf 
with thofe of the family who had fuffered like 
wrongs, and fettled on a common at a great diftance, 
to which my mother pretended fome right, 
thouo-h from the doubtfulnefs of her title, fhe 
had never beftowed one farthing on the premifes. 
Here I had great difficulties to flruggle with, 
but having now found liberty and tranquility, 
I bore every thing with patience, preferring the 
mo ft obfcure and penurious fituation, to the 
miferies I had formerly endured. By keeping a 
correfpondence with my former friends, and re- 
prefenting to them the. advantages of liberty, I 
drew many of them to come and refide with me, 
and their affiftance was of great advantage, by 
enabling me to clear my farm ; and provide us 
with the conveniences of life. 

But 



14 An Appeal to the Public 

But while I advanced in profperity, my mother, 
by liftening to evil counfellors, was going faft to 
ruin, and preparing the means of our common 
deft ruction. — From her quarrelfome temper, fhe 
was frequently engaged in pleas > which proved 
very expenfive, and the infolence of her behaviour 
is daily raiflng her new enemies. To fupport 
her extravagance fhe was obliged to borrow from 
her tenants and fervants, and ran very deep in 
debt. At this time fhe became much addicted 
to drinking which gradually impaired her un- 
derstanding. The high premium fhe gave, pro- 
cured her great command of money, which fhe 
never thought of paying, and by contriving to 
be always in cafh, fhe fometimes got the better 
of her neighbours, though at fo extravagant an 
expence, that it would have been much better 
for her to have been foiled in her quarrels, than 
to have gained in the manner fhe did. 

As fhe never wanted a crowd of knaves, 
gamblers, fharpers, and pickpockets about her, 

they 



On behalf of Camerla. 1 5 

they contrived among them a new method of 
keeping up her fpirits and conducting her to her 
ruin in the gayeft manner. They circulated her 
bills among them for ready money, and thefe, 
though intrinfically worth nothing, and com- 
monly fold at a difcount, created an artificial 
appearance of wealth in her family. By preferv- 
ing in circulation thefe ghofls of departed fums 
my mother came to imagine, that me had loft 
nothing, and even to efteem herfelf fo much the 
the richer in proportion as me run the more in 
debt. In this foolifh conceit, her fervants con- 
ftantly flattered her, and being perpetually dofed 
by drinking, fhe eafily believed them. Her 
yearly rents being mortgaged to ufurers for 
defraying the charges of her former extrava- 
gance, me had nothing left to fupport her, but 
the moll rigorous exactions on her tenants, for 
which me was every year inventing new pre- 
tences. Thus though pofTefled of a revenue 
that might have enabled her to live in opulence 
and independence, me had not a farthing ex- 
cept 



1 6 An Appeal to the Public 

except what was raifed by the moil fhameful ex- 
tortion. 

It had been an ancient cuftom in the manor, 
that a council of the tenants mould be annually 
called to confult for the common intereft. By 
giving them ill language, and keeping them en- 
gaged about trifles, fhe contrived to weary them ; 
and after long attendance would fet them about 
their bufinefs before they had done anything of 
any moment. To lefTon their trouble and to 
avoid the like mortifications in future fhe got 
them advifed to fend a few of their number, who 
had lean 1 bufinefs at home, and to thefe the 
common concerns were entrufted. By tamper- 
ing with thefe, fhe got them to promote her 
deflgns and divided with them the fpoils, which 
by their affiftance fhe had extorted from the reft. 
But as there were fome difficulties in this method, 
fhe contrived another, which moil effectually 
anfwered her purpofe. On pretence of eaflng 
the tenants of their labour in attending the com- 
mon 



On behalf of Cameria. 



common concerns of the manor, and pretending 
a great regard to their interests, fhe contrived to 
get her menial fervants chofen as reprefentatives 
of her tenants. When fhe had now no body to 
deal with except her own coachmen, cooks, footmen, 
dog-keepers, and turnfpits, fhe no longer kept any 
bounds in her exactions; and the ufurers fhe em- 
ployed, furnifhed her with money at exorbitant in- 
tereft. In order to fatisfy their demands, fhe had 
recourfe to the moft odious methods of oppref- 
fion; but her tenants being moftly a thoughtlefs 
and ftupid generation, took little notice of the 
matter, for a long time, being fcarce capable of 
diftinguifhing between real and apparent wealth. 
As they owed immenfe fums to one another, 
they never reflected on the impoffibility of their 
being paid, but lived in all the appearances of 
real wealth by transferring defperate debts as 
ready money to each other. 

The conftant circulation of this imaginary 
property in an endlefs succeffion of fools, made 

every 



1 8 An Appeal to the Public 

every individual fecure as to himfelf, finding So 
eafy an opportunity of getting rid of it to 
greater fools than themfelves. But as the molt 
ftupid of mankind will think fometimes, fome 
murmurings occafionally arofe on this head, 
which was not very eafy to anfwer. At laft my 
mother's managers gave her to underftand, that 
fhe had ftill one refource remaining. As my 
eftate was now brought into tolerable order, 
though without the leafl expence on her part, 
everything I had from her coding me at leafl 
double the value, they told her that as I had 
grown up to wealth under her tuition, nothing 
was more reafonable than that my eftate mould 
be mortgaged for the payment of her debts. 

To give fome colour to this pretence, it was 
afTerted, that thefe debts had been contracted on 
my account, becaufe forfooth, my mother had be- 
ftowed fome expence in ejecting a neighbouring 
gentleman, who had fettled on a part of the 
fame common, and had actually given me great 

difturbance 



On behalf of Cameria. 19 

disturbance on my mother s account. — As her family 
derived great benefit from my eftate, me was too 
mindful of her own intereft, not to give me 
proper aftiftance ; but I derived no other benefit 
from it than being rid of a troublefome neigh- 
bour ; while my mother acquired a large eftate, 
on which great expence had already been be- 
ftowed. I was ftill obliged to fell the whole pro- 
duce of my farm to my mother's family, and to 
take everything I wanted from her at her own 
price. I had long fubmitted to this, in order 
to fhow my regard to my mother, though fhe had 
ufed me very indifferently, and though I knew 
that I could purchafe every thing cheaper from 
my neighbours. This compliance in the end 
has coft me very dear, as my mother, finding her 
advantage by the bargain, and being continually 
preffed by her neceffities, and the extravagance 
of her fervants, omitted no method by which 
me could cheat me, or procure money for contin- 
uing her mad career. She began to talk in a 
high ftrain of parental authority ', and pretended, 

that 



20 An Appeal to the Public 

that the acquifition of children, even after they 
were foris familiated, continued to be the prop- 
erty of the parents ; and that a mother had the 
power of life and death over her children. I did 
not at firft obferve the drift of all this fenfelefs 
rant. But my mother having got a moft worth- 
lefs and covetous fellow for her ft e ward, who was 
perpetually contriving lies to irritate her againft 
me, he devifed a plot of seizing my eftate by 
force, and maflacring or ejecting my family. 
An old Roman Conjurer, to whom my mother, 
when in liquor had once made a deed of gift of her 
whole eftate, was at the bottom of this bufinefs, 
though he did not care to mew himfelf in it, on 
account of his being greatly hated in the family. 
Her fteward was in conftant correfpondence with 
this conjurer; and, by his intereft with my mother, 
beftowed on him a rent charge on fundry parts of 
her eftate; and among others on that, which, by 
my aid, me had fo lately acquired in my neigh- 
bourhood ; in hopes of enabling the conjurer, 
by degrees, to recover the whole eftate at laft. 

In 



On behalf of Cameria. z i 

In the meantime my mother's managers were 
constantly Spreading ill reports againft me, and 
whifpering, that I had a defign, in concert with 
my friends, to murder my mother ; though 
fuch a thing never entered into my thoughts. 
But in public my mother pretended the fincerefr. 
regard for me and invited me to drink a dim 
of tea with her, in token of friendfhip, which 
was the only time fhe had treated me in that man- 
ner. While fhe recommended her tea, (though 
I have been fince informed, that it was worth 
nothing,) and endeavoured to make me fenfible 
how great honour fhe did me, fhe gravely hinted, 
that fhe expected I would fupport a number of 
worthlefs people, the refufe of her family, whom 
fhe intended to fend over to me for that purpofe, 
I modefhly declined the propofal, telling her I 
was not much given to tea-drinking^ and would 
rather want it, than procure it at fuch an exorbi- 
tant rate. The matter having taken air in my 
family, fomebody accidentally overturned the tea- 
pot^ on which my mother having got drunk with 

fome 



22 An Appeal to the Public 

fome liquor fhe had from the old conjurer, flew 
into a violent paffion, fwore a number of horrid 
oaths, and vowed the moft cruel revenge againfr. 
me, unlefs I fubmitted to her will, and pay her 
an enormous price for the tea fhe had offered me. 
I replied, that as the treat -was entirely unfolicited 
on my part, I thought it ftrange to be obliged to 
pay for an entertainment which I had neither 
afked nor tailed, and begged fhe fhould make 
me no more offers of that fort. Upon this fhe 
fwore I was an ungrateful jade, and that fhe would 
teach me my duty by force, as I was not to be 
moved with reafon. 

Soon after fhe fent over a number of fharpers, 
bullies, pick pockets, houfebreakers, and fuch 
kind of cattle, who at firft modeftly afking lodg- 
ing, were readily received ; but they foon put off 
the mafk of friendfhip by pretending a right to 
my whole eftate, ftealing my cattle, fpoiling my 
corns, burning my woods, and farm houfes, and 
murdering all who offered to reflfl: them. When 

driven 



On behalf of Cameria. 23 

driven from one part of the farm, they attacked 
another, and have over run at different times a 
confiderable part of my eftate, burning and 
flaying wherever they came, and glorying in the 
moll infamous and barbarous actions. Inflead 
of being difpleafed at thefe doings, nothing 
gives my mother greater pleafure, than to hear of 
the injuries done me by her blackguards ; and fhe 
has often been heard fay, fhe would be glad to 
fee my heart's blood, and the death of all my 
family at once. When her people have burnt 
me a barn, plundered a warehoufe, murdered a 
game-keeper, or Hole a herd of cattle^ fhe fhews 
the moll barbarous exultation, and orders all her 
family to get drunk at their own charges , by way of 
thankfgiving for thefe heroic actions as fhe calls 
them. Nay fo much is fhe fet on my deftruction, 
that her pride and wrath have actually turned her 
brain, with the help of the conjurer's liquor, 
which fhe not only drinks to great excefs herfelf, 
but diftributes largely among her domeftics, 
which has made them as mad as their miftrefs. 

Nothing 



24 An Appeal to the Public 



Nothing is now to be heard in her family but 
roaring, fwearing, curfing, and threatenings of 
death and deftruclion to me and all my friends 
and family. None can gain her favour any 
other way, than by coining lies againft my repu- 
tation, or contriving plans for my deftruction. 
She has regularly every year predicted that fhe 
would make an end of me, but rinding herfelf 
difappointed, fhe turns quite frantic, curfes her 
fervants, and fwears they area parcel of cowardly 
rogues and traitors, elfe they would have got me 
murdered long ago. She is always dreaming of 
my death, and has often given large rewards to 
pedlers and gypfies for bringing her fa Ife news of 
my ruin. Inftead of refenting the deceit when 
difcovered, fhe will allow no body to talk to her, 
unlefs they deceive her, and the oftener they do 
fo, they are the more welcome. She has been at 
incredible pains and coft in order to ruin me, and 
yet fhe grudges no expence for that purpofe. Her 
friends dare not tell her that fhe is ruining herfelf, 
though me mufh foon come to her laft milling. 

In 



On behalf of Cameria. 25 

In her raving fits fhe fometimes fays, that fhe 
considers my ruin as neceflary for her own exig- 
ence, and whatever me fays, her fervants muft 
believe, on pain of being confidered as rogues and 
traitors ; which is very dangerous, efpecially flnce 
fhe has refumed her correfpondence with the old 
conjurer, who feems to be the only perfon fhe has 
any regard to. Fame reports that they zreprivate- 
ly married, though I would not readily believe this 
of my mother, however much I have been calum- 
niated by her. It is certain, however, that a few 
days ago, at a public entertainment, after drink- 
ing off a large pot of his liquor, fhe faid a great 
deal of good of him : and, pretending a great zeal 
for freedom of trade, and that every body mould 
live by their own buflnefs, fhe ordered her fervants 
to refcind the ancient orders againft the practices of con- 
jurers; and to allow Dr. Infallibility in particu- 
lar, an entire liberty of telling for 'tunes , felling drugs 
and eretling his ftage in every market town, and 
performing all other parts of his profeffion to 
every perfon willing to employ him, in the beft and 

richeft 



iG An Appeal to the Public 

richeft part of her eftate, on being paid for his 
trouble according to ancient cuftom. 

As the Doctor is known to deal in poifons, and 
has done a world of mifchief in every family 
where he has been employed, this was confidered 
as a fufficient proof, of her madnefs, and her 
blind attachment to the conjurer. The poorer 
part of her tenants however roundly told her, 
that they would not employ him, nor admit him, 
into their houfes. She was obliged to yield to 
them, and to excufe herfelf to the doctor in 
the beft manner me could, but it was thought 
me could not deny him any thing, if he infifted 
on it. Some of the other tenants encouraged 
by this, adventured to petition her to fend the 
doctor a-packing again, that they might be in 
fafety as well as their neighbours. But while 
they were preparing to prefent their petition, 
me hired a number of flreet robbers and Mo- 
hocks to difguife themfelves as petitioners, and 
fham a quarrel in the paflage ; after which they 

burnt 



On behalf of Cameria. iy 

burnt two or three houfes, to bring a reproach 
on all the conjurer's enemies. She then began 
to talk very big, having got this plot to fucceed, 
— pretended to be in great fear for her fafety, 
alledging it was extremely hard that herkindnefs 
to a poor old man, whofe medicines had often 
done her good, Ihould be fo ill interpreted in the 
family ; that all the complainers were rogues 
who had a plot againft her life, from which fhe 
had hardly efcaped by arming her domeftics. 

After this fhe became very bloody, and would 
knock down boys and girls of fifteen years of age 
with her own hands, on pretence that they had 
defigned to take her life, or burn her houfe about 
her ears. Nobody dares approach her, except 
the friends of the old conjurer, to whom fhe 
feems to be entirely devoted. Since lofing her 
reafon fhe has become very mifchievous, and 
endeavours to deflroy every body within her 
reach, efpecially the ancient friends of her family, 
All her neighbours dread and hate her, and no 

wonder, 



An Appeal to the Public 



wonder, as Hie gives all of them fo many caufes 
of complaint. A neighbouring gentleman hav- 
ing accidentally commended me in her prefence, 
fhe confidered it an intolerable affront, and im- 
mediately quarrelled with him, vowed that he 
had confpired to ruin her, and has fince that 
time done him all the mifchief in her power. 

My eldeft lifter Lerinda obferving her grown 
such a tyrant at home, dreaded the effects of her 
fury, and remembering that fhe had once in her 
cups given away her eftate to the old conjurer, 
who had almoft got pofTeflion of it, by murder- 
ing a number of her people, immediately put her 
fervants under arms, and ever flnce watches her 
houfe every night ; flnce which time, my mother 
has talked very civilly to her, but every body 
imagines that her kindnefs is merely fuperficial. 

The neighbours, finding that fhe fpared no- 
body in her drunken fits, have entered in an 
agreement to defend themfelves againft her, to 

hang 



On behalf of Cameria. 



hang up her bullies and houfe-breakers, and to 
confine her to her houfe till her understanding 
returns. But fhe fwears fhe will deftroy them 
all, and that, though fhe mould fpend her laffc 
milling and her heart's-blood into the bargain, 
fhe will ruin me and all my friends. The poor 
old woman never confiders that this is not in her 
power, and that fhe has almoft ruined her whole 
family in making the attempt. 

The other day, being quite mad with rage and 
difappointment, fhe obferved an old fish-wo- 
man returning from the market, and me im- 
agines every body has ill defigns, fhe fwore me 
was one of her enemies, that fhe had written me a 
friendly letter, and had a defign to ruin her and 
her whole family. Immediately fhe ordered fome 
of her gang of houfe breakers to plunder the poor 
woman's goods and to murder her if fhe made the 
leafh refinance. It would be endlefs to relate all 
her mad pranks, but the whole neighbourhood 
muft furTer if fhe is not now put under confinement. 

I 



jo An Appeal to the Public. 

I am forry for the accident, as fhe blames me 
for all her misfortunes, though they are entirely 
of her own feeking. If fhe were concerned in 
any quarrel in which a perfon of common hon- 
efty could take her part, I would gladly affift 
her ; but as nothing but my ruin can fatisfy her, 
I hope I mall not be blamed for defending my- 
felf It grieves me to be thought an undutiful 
child, or a bad neighbour, but I hope the public 
will at laft do me juftice. I have fuffered im- 
menfe lofTes, yet my mother in converfation with 
her pick-pockets, affects to be merry with my 
misfortunes, and even twits me with my debts, 
though fhe owes ten times more herfelf, without 
the poffibility of paying them. I hope while 
me is engaged in other quarrels, my people will 
rid me of her rafcals, but it muft be a considera- 
ble time before I get my lofTes repaired. In the 
mean time, I wifh that fome of you would do 
juflice to the character of the unfortunate and 
much injured 

CAMERIA. 



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